A little bit like The Sims but set in the Jurassic period, with a little bit of Age of Empires thrown into the mix, Ark: Survival Evolved is a new take on the survival game genre. Build alliances, go to war with other tribes, tame dinosaurs, and learn how to survive in an inhospitable prehistoric landscape, teeming with terrifying creatures waiting to rip you apart. Have you got what it takes to survive?
There’s lots to love about this game – it has wide appeal, with something that everyone should enjoy.
Now, this game is still in early access, so it’s not totally polished yet. From day one, there’s been a few glitches and a number of teething issues. But that’s ok – we expect that with an early access game – it’s one of the most crucial points of early access. So, for us here at DingIt, we don’t mind a few dramas over our dino stew. However, what makes Ark: Survival Evolved really standout is the sheer number of patches and updates the devs send out to fix any issues that players report. The devs also often roll out regular updates to introduce new areas, new dinosaurs, and new features. They literally do as much as humanly possible to ensure the game reaches its full potential. We greatly admire their apparent dedication and enthusiasm!
When you’re just starting out, or if you prefer lone game-play, your best option is to play local. In this mode, there’s no other players and you have a huge range of customization options, including the number of available dinos, your resistance to damage, the length of daylight and loads of other stuff. You also have the option of hosting a game locally, so you can invite your friends and play with just a few of you, whether together or competitively. This is a great choice if you want to avoid highly populated main game servers or if you want to organize an Ark event.
The main game servers are pretty much free-for-alls. You don’t just have the dinos to worry about – you have all the other players to concern yourself with. Like most open world games, there’s a huge range of players. Some will give help to noobs or at least leave them alone for a while. Others are not so accommodating and will quickly kill you and loot your belongings. This is particularly problematic in Ark as, until you have a home base, belong to a tribe, or have a bed, you respawn in a random location, which can place you firmly in the middle of another tribe’s land. And, when you respawn, you lose everything, including weapons and clothes, so you’re pretty much butt-naked (apart from modest underwear), and totally helpless in a random location, potentially surrounded by 100 blood-thirsty dinos or aggressive players. So – our advice – join a tribe or start one of your own asap – and craft a bed as fast as you can – once you’ve unlocked that particular engram.
Taming dinos is an integral part of the game. Now you can of course just run away from dinos or, once you’re strong enough and have the right weapons, you can spend all of your time simply hacking them to pieces. But you’ll be missing one of the most fundamental and fun parts of the game. We recommend starting out small – something like a dodo – as this gives you a feel for the taming process. Hitting them with your fists or a pick, spear, or axe will likely result in you killing them, but for taming, you want to start with the slingshot and some rocks. Aim for the head to knock them out as fast as possible without overly reducing their health. Once the animal is unconscious, open its inventory and add berries (for herbivores). Some berries are more popular than others, so keep an eye on which ones your dino is eating. Carnivores obviously require meat – preferably raw – although some species prefer spoiled meat. To get meat, you’ll need to kill a few dinos and hack apart their bodies to harvest the flesh. When taming carnivores, the same principles apply – just switch berries for meat. Remember to keep an eye on the taming progress bar. If it looks like the dino is going to wake up before it’s fully tame, use your slingshot and hit it in the head – but watch the health bar, as you can easily kill an unconscious dino – so only hit it if you really need to.
Once you’ve tamed your dino, you can make it follow you, allow it to wander, disable wandering, make it stand still and not follow, and alter the aggression level. Use your tame dinos to carry your inventory, as they’ll still have it after you respawn. They can also help you kill big bad-ass dinos – but beware – they aren’t invincible – so big dinos can rip your domesticated companions apart as fast as they can kill you. Once you’re up to taming larger dinosaurs, you can learn the appropriate engram and craft saddles so you can ride. This gives you more control when going into battle and, in some cases, lets you run move faster and safer. Collect their poop, too, as this will come in handy for use as fertilizer – or even fire fuel when in a pinch.
Ark: Survival Evolved is a new breed of survival game that encompasses a huge range of gameplay elements that keeps the game fast-paced and interesting. With multiple game modes and so much to do in-game, it will appeal to most. The random respawns are problematic for new players on the open world maps, but once you level up and really learn how to play, this is no longer such an issue. If you’ve started out playing locally, you can even import your current character into the open world game so you can get a definite head start.
So go on, dive in. This game has come a huge way forward in a short space of time – and it looks like it’s only going to get better. Come and join the fun – and send us your game pics! We want to see just how many dinos you’ve managed to tame! Or send us images of your best PvP or PvD battles – or your thriving tribe or homestead, complete with crop plots, dinos, elaborate buildings, and irrigation systems. Go ahead and “wow” us!
– Katy Willis